Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Flashback: New Year's Resolutions?

Rather than maunder about my failed resolutions of 2012 (be less neurotic? HA!), I think I'll revisit this list -- 12 Things Happy People Do Differently. In fact, I've printed it out and posted it behind my computer, right next to Caroline Starr Rose's "I will...I won't" poster.

I'd also like to revisit a list of reading resolutions--compiled and posted by Camille DelVecchio from The Penfield (NY) Public Library--that I blogged about way back in December 24, 2004.

But first, some reading statistics from 2012:
I read 62 books this past year, 8 more than last year, but still not good enough! Of these, 28 were Adult (5 of which were re-reads), 14 were Young Adult (1 of which was a re-read), and 20 were Middle Grade.

This surprises me a little. Only 14 YA? That seems wrong. (I'm not counting books I read in manuscript form, though.) I will ponder this . . .

Now to the Penfield Public Library reading resolutions (with updated commentary from yours truly):

- I will finally read that classic from high school that I've been avoiding.
What should it be? Probably something Russian. Anna Karenina, maybe?
Any suggestions? (Anna Karenina was never assigned in my high school, but it seems like friends in AP English often encountered Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky.)

- I will assemble a list of my favorite people and send them ideas about books (favorites, recent reads, and the like).
This seems a little pushy to me. Anyone need a rec? (See next resolution)

- I will create a journal and keep notes on the things I read.
Once upon a time I kept a paper reading journal, and then I tracked reads on Livejournal. Now I keep track on Goodreads and Shelfari, but my comments are brief. I do post more detailed recommendation each month at Book End Babes, however. (See this list for 2012 recs.)

- I will spend an hour in aimless browsing at a library.
Must do this very soon! But that would mean turning my back on that teetering TBR pile.

- I will read a book written in the year I was born.
Ooooh, maybe The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin? Or The Green Man by Kingsley Amis?

- I will reread a book I loved as a child.
Something by Judy Blume. Or Edward Eager? I've also been meaning to re-read Little Women, because I have in mind a "In which I am a jerk about" blog post for it. (Have been feeling bitter about Professor Bhaer lately. And I always like to complain about Amy.)

- I will read a book on the history of my town.
Hmmmm. Does Oxford count? It's my town for the summer, yes?

- I will read a book about a place I've never been.
Is this supposed to be nonfiction, do you think? Or a novel set somewhere I've never been?

- I will find a book of poetry and read some aloud.
Wouldn't it be lovely to start each day reading a poem aloud? Whom should I read? Emily Dickinson, of course. And there's John Donne, Keats, Yeats, Frost . . . I'm blanking out, especially for the 20th and 21st centuries. Any recs?

- I will gather a few friends and read a play outloud.
This seems very Whedonesque. Who's up for it? (I could imagine the NAH gang doing this, but my dear husband would run screaming in the opposite direction.)

- I will read a book written from a political point of view totally opposite my own.
This is a tough one. Not sure where to start.

- I will reread a book that I just didn't "get" when I was eighteen.
That was soooo long ago. High school friends--what books did we struggle with? If nothing else, I've been meaning to give Wuthering Heights one more chance to win me over. And then perhaps I'll watch Andrea Arnold's film.

- I will ask a librarian to show me some print and online resources for readers.
Do I have to? My dear librarian friends, what resources do you recommend? I already feel overwhelmed by all the book buzz out there.


That's it for now! I wish you all the best with your 2013 reading resolutions. May your reads be full of magic and romance and adventure and enlightenment!

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]


  1. This is a fun idea for the new year! Oh, and I'd love a list of reading recommendations from you, I think we have very similar tastes!
    I agree, Wuthering Heights is a tricky book. I love Emily Bronte as a character herself, but the book is...odd. I loved Jane Eyre passionately, from the moment I read it in the 10th grade :)
    Now, one summer I need to drop in on you in Oxford, lol! Wouldnt that be fun? I'd love to see all the Bronte and Austen sites. Plus, there is a Sleightholme moor in Yorkshire that I'd love to see as well...happy 2013!

    1. Did anyone ever write a novel about Emily Bronte? A GOOD novel? If so, I'd like to read that. She was a very interesting person.

      And yes you must come to Oxford. We'll have tea at The Rose and take a turn about the Botanical Gardens, among other things!

      As for recs, have you read the Betsy-Tacy books? I've read the first three books and they seem like they'd be right up your alley. (Which makes me think you've probably already read them.) I have the whole series now, and I look forward to following the girls into adulthood!

    2. Funny you should ask, lol! This book is AWESOME:

      It's called Emily's Ghost. So so good. I think I locked myself in my room and finished it in 48 hours (and probably it lasted that long because my family got hungry ever so often, haha!)

      And yes, I would love to meet you at Oxford! Then we could ramble around England and find the best tea and cakes!

      And NO I hadnt heard of Besty-Tacy! I will look these books up right now! :D

  2. I loved The Left Hand of Darkness, although it has been many years now since I read it; I should probably read it again. I recall the other books in the series were also very good. My book that I just didn't "get" would have to be The House of Seven Gables. I tried a couple of times to read it, and I could never finish it.

    1. Nice to get a "thumbs up" for Left Hand of Darkness. And I agree that Hawthorne is tough. I will always love The Scarlet Letter, but I think I gave up on House of Seven Gables myself. Maybe I'll try again? Is it sort of Gothic?

  3. I loved The Brothers Karamazov if you find Anna Karennina a bit sluggish (as I did). This is a fun reading list!

  4. Wow - that's ambitious. And fun. I'm inspired to make my own list. It will be much shorter. I'll probably skip reading a whole book from somebody else's political perspective and just ask somebody for a six-word summary of why they think that way. I may skip the poems and just reread that book of poems I put together myself from ages 13 to 18. That will help me better understand true martyrdom and oppression. But I'm on board for the library-wander, learning more about my town and several other great ideas. Just remember, you may have had a very valid reason for avoiding that high-school classic!

    1. Just remember, you may have had a very valid reason for avoiding that high-school classic!

      You skeptic! Actually, it was so long ago I barely remember what I avoided back then. I do know that all my life I've been avoiding the Russian writers.

  5. What a wonderful challenge! The book I didn't "get" when I was eighteen, seven, or twenty-five was THE HOBBIT. It made me sleep. I think I'll just watch the movie. Maybe. I rather enjoyed WUTHERING HEIGHTS, though.:)

    1. How long ago was it that you enjoyed WH? Because you enjoyed REBECCA, too! (Sorry, couldn't resist.) I've been told the older you get, the less you relate to WH.

    2. I reread it about ten years ago. Let me be clear. I never related to WH, but I enjoyed the melodrama. It's just so over the top! Plus, when I was a ninth grader, another theater student and I competed in dramatic duet with a scene from WH! During more than one rehearsal we went even more over the top than the script required. Fun stuff. (Go ahead and call me a nerd now.)

  6. Reading a play out loud... Why does that make me think of Mansfield Park?

    1. Makes sense to me -- they're putting on a play, right?

      (If this were LJ, I'd use one of my MP icons right now. *sigh*)